Gary Cuozzo – QB (1968-1971)
Gary Cuozzo was effectively the third-ever starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Fran Tarkenton brought the franchise to prominence as its inaugural starter. After six seasons though, Tarkenton bolted to The Big Apple to try his luck with the New York Giants. The next signal-caller was Joe Kapp. The Kapp Era worked out relatively well as the 31-year-old led Minnesota to its first Super Bowl.
Immediately after the Vikings lost Super Bowl IV to the Kansas City Chiefs, Kapp also went back east. He joined the Boston Patriots in 1970, showed off a 1-9 win-loss record as the team’s starter, and retired for good.
Gary Cuozzo then took the reigns. He led the Vikings to a 12-2 record only to be stunned by the San Francisco 49ers 17-14 in the first round of the playoffs. Cuozzo would start eight more games for Minnesota in 1971 and later find his way to the St. Louis Cardinals for a season.
Overall, Cuozzo has the 12th-most wins by a quarterback in team history and ranks in the top 20 of both passing yards and touchdowns. And in the aforementioned postseason game versus the 49ers, he was particular lackluster completing just nine of 27 passes. He was also the quarterback of a losing playoff effort against the Dallas Cowboys the following postseason when the Vikings were ousted by a score of 20-12 at Metropolitan Stadium.